Greater Houston patients concerned about their risk of macular degeneration should be encouraged by The Beaver Dam Eye Study as reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology which suggests that regular exercise can improve and decrease the risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD). What doeye health and exercise have in common-actually quite a bit?

“AMD is one of the most common causes of vision loss among seniors and those over 50 years old. It affects central vision, which is important for driving, reading and seeing faces,” said Bernard Milstein, M.D. of The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Houston & Galveston.

Participants of the study were composed of about 4,000 women and men who were followed for more than 15 years, conducting eyes tests and recording their levels of exercise. They were aged 43 to 86 and were assessed every five years starting in 1988. Considering other factors like age, weight, and blood fat levels, those participants who were active lowered their chances in developing AMD by up to 70% when compared to those who barely had any exercise. Those who regularly walk were found to have lowered their chances to 30%.

But how much exercise is enough? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recommended 90 minutes every day. This should be enough if you have an active job or walk during the say but would probably require you to do more if you have a sedentary lifestyle. It may help if you wear a pedometer, just to know how much you are walking. You can also try other forms of exercise such as cycling, golf, gardening, swimming, and other sports activities. Cleaning your house can even be of great help.

So how much does exercise to help eye health? It is a little too hard to tell exactly how exercise exactly affects eye health but here are some facts to give you some idea:

  • Exercise can lower eye pressure helping to reduce the risk of glaucoma.
  • Exercise can help prevent half of the cases of type 2 diabetes, a known risk for significant vision loss from diabetic retinopathy.
  • Exercise improves the health of the cardiovascular system by lowering triglycerides and increasing HDL levels. Macular degeneration has been known to be caused by some factors of heart disease.
  • Exercise can make us less likely to perform risk taking activities which can damage our health as well as that of others.

If you or someone you know has questions about exercise, macular degeneration and eye health please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

Houston eye doctors from The Eye Clinic of Texas raised the awareness that excessive drinking of alcohol may predispose you to increased risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD) according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. By drinking more than the recommended daily amount of alcohol may increase the risk of eye disease such as age related macular degeneration (AMD) is now believed to be greater than for others. A standard glass of wine or beer each contains about 15g of alcohol. “It appears from this study that consuming more than 20g of alcohol a day was associated with an increase in early age-related macular degeneration of about 20 per cent in men and women compared with non-drinkers,” noted Ophthalmologist Bernard Milstein, M.D. While many other studies reported the risk of heavy drinking on eye health, there was little evidence until now about the specific association between moderate drinking and age-related macular degeneration.

If you or someone you know has questions about eye health, macular degeneration and drinking alcohol please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

Bernard Milstein, M.D., a LASIK Surgeon serving greater Houston & Galveston at The Eye Clinic of Texas commented, “The clinical experience as well as the recommendation of the FDA is that contact lenses not be exposed to any form of water in order to avoid eye health risk-especially the risk of Acanthamoeba Keratitis. For this reason, anyone who swims or participates in water sports or activities needs to think about LASIK in Houston as the best type of vision correction today,” explained Dr. Milstein.

Wearing contact lenses for swimming and water sports and activities poses a risk of Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a potentially catastrophic eye infection of the cornea. Acanthamoeba Keratitis is caused by an organism present in all forms of impure water such as swimming pools, tap water, saunas, wells and even showers.

“Contact Lenses are really quite safe to wear if your follow proper care guidelines and instructions. However, if water restrictions such as swimming, bath tubs and showering are part of your daily routine, you do need to keep your lenses out. Many more Houston patients-even very successful contact lens wearers-find this to be a hassle and are seeking us out to discuss LASIK Surgery as an option,” said Dr. Milstein.

If you or someone you know has questions about swimming with contact lenses or participating in water sports with contact lenses or would like to learn more about LASIK or even schedule a Free LASIK Consultation please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

With the fit and active lifestyle of patients having cataract surgery in Houston we are often asked about guidelines for resuming exercise after cataract surgery and lens implants. The cataract surgery and lens implant operation our cataract surgeons use at The Eye Clinic of Texas allows for a quick practical and visual recovery. This is important to so many patients-especially as they want to be able to resume their daily activities and lifestyle quickly. Certainly exercise guidelines may vary slightly depending on your cataract surgeon and on the specific details of your cataract surgery, but in general within 24 to 48 hours you should be able to do light walking. Avoid any heavy lifting or bending from the waist to get objects from the floor until you get approval to do so from your cataract surgeon. Swimming and water activities should be avoided for at least the first week after surgery because getting water in your eyes could increase the risk for infection. However, most patients are completely back to their exercise routines within one month after surgery.

If you or someone you know has questions about cataract, cataract surgery, lens implants and exercise restrictions please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

With the fit and active lifestyle of patients having cataract surgery in Houston we are often asked about guidelines for resuming exercise after cataract surgery and lens implants. The cataract surgery and lens implant operation our cataract surgeons use at The Eye Clinic of Texas allows for a quick practical and visual recovery. This is important to so many patients-especially as they want to be able to resume their daily activities and lifestyle quickly. Certainly exercise guidelines may vary slightly depending on your cataract surgeon and on the specific details of your cataract surgery, but in general within 24 to 48 hours you should be able to do light walking. Avoid any heavy lifting or bending from the waist to get objects from the floor until you get approval to do so from your cataract surgeon. Swimming and water activities should be avoided for at least the first week after surgery because getting water in your eyes could increase the risk for infection. However, most patients are completely back to their exercise routines within one month after surgery.

If you or someone you know has questions about cataract, cataract surgery, lens implants and exercise restrictions please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

Choosing the best sunglasses for the Houston sun means understanding that they are more than just a fashion accessory,” commented Allan Fradkin, M.D. an Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Galveston & Houston. “Sunglasses are a necessary form of protection for your eyes against the damaging rays of the sun and UV light.”

It’s important for you to know what types of light you need to protect your eyes from and what types of light are not necessarily harmful. Here are some tips for picking the right pair of nonprescription sunglasses.

  • Choose Sunglasses that Block 99% of Ultraviolet (UV) Rays. This is the most important feature of your sunglasses, and you should always choose sunglasses that provide this protection. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease, including cataracts. Some manufacturers’ labels say UV absorption up to 400nm. This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Some glasses make additional claims for blocking infrared rays, but research has not shown a close connection between infrared rays and eye disease.
  • Don’t Rely on the Price. Many types of affordable sunglasses offer 99 to 100% UV protection, so you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses.
  • Do Rely on the Quality. In addition to UV protection, you also want to check the optical quality of the lenses. You can easily test the quality of sunglasses by looking at something with a rectangular pattern, such as a floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair.
  • Look for Impact-Resistant Lenses. All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by a ball or stone. Polycarbonate plastics, used in many sports sunglasses, are especially strong, but scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, choose ones with a scratch-resistant coating.
  • Use Protective Eyewear NOT Sunglasses for Hazardous Activities. If you are going to be engaged in outdoor activities like water or snow skiing that put your eye at risk for injury, don’t count on your eyeglasses for protection. Protective eyewear is available with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
  • Lens Color Tinting & Polarization are Personal Preferences. There’s no medical reason to recommend one tint of lens over another. Likewise, while polarized lenses work better at deflecting glare, they’re not blocking any more harmful UV light than non-polarized lenses.

Once you have the right sunglasses, make sure you wear them, especially in the summer when UV levels are at least three times higher than in the winter. Also be sure to wear them when participating in winter sports, particularly at high elevations.

If you or someone you know has a question or would like to learn more about choosing the best sunglasses in Houston please feel free to call Texas Eyewear at The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

“There is a good possibility that when having a routine eye exam in Houston we will be able to provide a test that helps determine your risk of stroke,” commented Dr. Da-Thuy Van, an eye doctor at The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Galveston & Houston. “Researchers from the University of Zurich reported data in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology  showing that results of a test called Ocular Pulse Amplitude (OPA) can reliably detect carotid artery stenosis (CAS) or carotid artery narrowing, a condition that clogs or blocks the arteries that feed the front part of the brain which is a known risk factor for stroke. I am hopeful that we will soon be able to perform this test as part of a routine eye exam,” said Dr. Van.

Each year, approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, and more than 137,000 of these people die as a result. People with severe CAS are much more likely to suffer stroke.”We would like to catch and treat CAS before that can happen, but because CAS has no symptoms and an efficient test is not currently available the disease often goes undetected,” explained Dr. Van.

If you or someone you know has questions about eye exams, eye health and stroke prevention please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

Patients having eye exams in Houston who are told that they have “Bear Tracks”, “Retina Freckles” or “Pigment Spots” should be aware that there may actually have an increased need for colonoscopy to screen for polyps and colon cancer. You may wonder what having a colonoscopy for colon cancer risk possibly have to do with your eyes?  As it turns out-plenty! The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) is a layer of the retina which can sometimes be thicker than normal at birth-or “hypertrophic”. “During regular eye exams when we find these areas of retinal pigmented epithelial hypertrophy they typically they do not cause any vision problems or symptoms and are pretty unremarkable,” commented Houston eye specialist Dr. Da-Thuy Van an Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas.

Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) is usually found before patients reach 30 years of age and although they may enlarge with time they usually do not lead to malignancies like colon cancer. However, there is an association between people with Gardner’s Syndrome-Familial Colonic Polyposes-or polyps of the colon, and CHRPE. If your eye doctor has told you that you have Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy-perhaps called “Bear Tracks” or “Pigment Spots” or “Retina Freckles”, it is important to carefully explore and review your family history reasonable with a Gastroenterologist who will likely schedule you for a colonoscopy. CHRPE has a “statistically significant” correlation with hereditary colon polyps known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, or FAP. It may be that the freckles are caused by the same genetic mutation that produces the polyps. A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that patients with such freckles should be referred for colonoscopies.

Thus-when we are over 50 years of age, the reasons to have yearly eye exams includes not only detecting cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases, but regular eye examinations may very well be a reminder to be screened via colonoscopy to help detect early risks and potential indicators of colon cancer.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

Sun & UV eye protection in Houston requires some careful considerations, especially as we enter the summer months and in consideration of May being designated Ultraviolet (UV) Eye Protection Awareness Month. Allan Fradkin, M.D., a Galveston & Houston Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas commented on UV protective eyewear and precautions people should take. “The summer months in Houston are a great time to be outdoors-walking, hiking, swimming-going to the beach-and just enjoying our community. But, with more exposure to the sun and ultraviolet or UV rays on a daily basis, we need to be reminded to use proper UV eye protection”, remarked Dr. Fradkin.

Almost everyone is aware of the potential damage that sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause to their skin, however most people do not know or appreciate that ultraviolet light (UV) can also cause significant damage to eye health and vision. Exposure to UV has been linked to many eye problems and in some instances is thought to quicken the onset of eye diseases such as cataract, age related macular degeneration(AMD), certain cancers on the delicate skin around the eye, Pterygia-a growth of white tissue on the surface of the eye-and even Photokeratitis, a type of sunburn of the cornea.

Some precautions regarding UV eye protection include:

  • Always wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses without UV protection may shade the eyes but actually cause the pupils to dilate, allowing in even more harmful rays.
  • Wear a brimmed hat along with sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • Choose wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes.
  • Be aware that although some contact lenses may offer UV protection, they cannot protect the entire eye and the skin around it.
  • Choose sunglasses made of unbreakable polycarbonate, especially for children and for those who lead active lifestyles.
  • Be sure to ask your doctor about the photosensitizing side effects of any medications that you might take.
  • Always wear eye protection when using a tanning bed. According the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times more than the sun, which can cause serious damage to the external and internal structures of the eye and eyelids.

Today we have wide range of UV protecting eyeglass lenses available to choose from. Eye protection from UV needs to be complete but doesn’t have to be overly expensive. High quality sunglasses should block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. It is also important to have UV protection in everyday eyewear, which is readily available with a number of UV blocking eyeglass lens materials, specialized coatings and photochromic lenses.

Patients visiting Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas can speak with our staff who will be able to provide the proper counseling and fitting of UV protecting lenses and eyewear. These eye care professionals can offer a wide variety of UV blocking lenses, coatings and color changing lenses to keep you safe.

If you or someone you know has a question or concerns about ultraviolet (UV) eye damage and injury and how to select protective eyewear please feel free to call Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

Smoking

Houston patients concerned about their eye health should be aware that smokers increase their risk of many eye health problems.Especially for younger patients-it is tough to convince them of the increased eye health risks posed by smoking,” stated Galveston & Houston eye doctor Dr. Da-Thuy Van of The Eye Clinic of Texas. “Not smoking from the start is the best choice for eye health-but quitting at any time is one of the most beneficial investments you can make in your long-term eye health. Smoking-even in your teens or twenties when your senior years seem far away- increases your future risks for cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). And the more a person smokes, the higher the risks. The good news is that after people quit smoking, their risks for these eye diseases become almost as low as for people who never smoked,” said Dr. Van.

Smoking also raises the risks for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence your eyes’ health. And tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, is an irritant that worsens dry eye, a very uncomfortable eye condition that is most common in women after menopause. Smoking increases the risk of serious vision loss in people with other eye diseases. And when women smoke during pregnancy they are more likely to give birth prematurely, putting their babies at higher risk for a potentially blinding disease called retinopathy of prematurity as well as other health problems.

If you or someone you know want to quit smoking and would like help the American Cancer Society has a resource at www.cancer.org. If you would like to learn more about smoking and eye health problems please feel free to The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.